Carson City and Lake Tahoe call out the kid in all of us
By Julie Nord

Next time you plan a vacation, consider Carson City, Nev. and Lake Tahoe, a year around playground which caters to everyone’s expectations for fun and excitement. In particular, fall and spring are excellent times to go to avoid the crowds.


Take note that many of the beaches are rocky along the west side. Sandy beaches can be found at King's City on the north shore, or along the Nevada border . Nevada Beach at Elk Point Road and Highway 50 is a large beach, the widest in Tahoe at .7 miles long, with all of the major facilities you’ll need for fun. A $5 day pass is required for vehicles


Like to explore and burn off calories? The Tahoe Rim Trail is optimal for brisk hiking, and it encircles mountain ridges above the lake. You can enter from any road leading to Lake Tahoe. Check out the website for easy day hikes at .

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Center offers a great nature hike. The center is three miles North of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. They have a display which is cut into the creek where they show rainbow trout and their lifecycles. This is located on the Rainbow Trail.


The best miniature golf around is Magic Carpet Minature Golf at South Lake Tahoe and one at North Lake Tahoe at Carnelian Bay . Avoid the spiders on the course, putt into the mouth of a dinosaur, or dodge falling timbers. Everyone will have a great time. Found on the main drag of Lake Tahoe Blvd. before the casinos, the golf course has been a staple of the community for decades. Call 530/541-3787 for pricing and hours.

From the valley activities to the mountaintop terrain, you can ride the tram to the top of the mountains at Heavenly or Squaw Valley . Beautiful alpine flowers bloom in the summer. The views are incredible as you feel you are on top of the world. Costs for a gondola ride run $24 for adults at Heavenly and $19 at Squaw. Check  and  for more details on the hours and days of operation.


If you enjoy roaming museums with the kids, Carson City delivers three amazing, interactive locations, making museum visits a pleasure. (Phone numbers and websites are noted at end of story).

Nevada State Museum
– Located at the old mint, this site is interesting for the whole family. See the old coin presses at the entrance then head to the back for local history, gems, animals. Exit via the mining cave route, where an old mining cave has been recreated.

Railroad Museum
– Enjoy a ride on a restored train. Trains only run on designated weekends so call ahead. Restored trains can be viewed on site.

Northern Nevada Kids Museum
– With over 8,000 square foot of real estate to cavort in, this is more of an activity center in a converted gym than a museum. It will hold the interest of kids 5 and under, but not much to do for anyone older. There are many play centers like a hospital room the kids can dress up and play in. There are a few small science displays.


There is a viewing area at the fish hatchery on 395 south of Gardnerville. Nevada. Called the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex , this place is a quick stop if you’re in the area to see the trout runs and juvenile fish. It only takes about 10 minutes to view everything. It’s open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 775/265-2425 for more info.


Here’s a low-budget tip for planning your winter vacation. Once snow falls, sled for free at the Hwy 50 and 28 split on the East shore of Lake Tahoe. Bring your own sled and get there early because it’s popular. Make dinosaur tracks in the snow with snowshoes from Spooner Lake Recreation.

Whatever season you choose to come, you’ll experience yet another precious family memory in Carson City or Lake Tahoe, and each time will be different, I assure you.


Nevada State Museum
600 N. Carson St. (Hwy. 395) Carson City corner of Robinson Street.
Phone: (775) 687-4810

Northern Nevada Kids Museum
813 N. Carson Street, Carson City
Phone: (775) 884-2226

Railroad Museum
2180 South Carson Street (U.S. Highway 395) at Fairview Drive, near the south end of Carson City
Phone: (775) 687-6953
Friends of the Museum web site:

NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES: for day hike info on the Tahoe Rim Trail.  - official website for the Tahoe region.  - operating details for the Lahotan National Fish Hatchery. - offers details on Squaw Valley’s gondola ride and more.  - all you need to know about the Heavenly Valley ski resort.  -travel site for North Lake Tahoe lodging and activities.  - wonderful website with lovely photos of the lake.

Busy mom
Julie Nord travels often to Carson City and Lake Tahoe with her family when she isn’t wearing her other hat as the owner of Wine Garden Restaurant in Yountville. This is her first article for BAFT.

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